Watson run is no flash in the bed-pan

Tom Watson continued his serene progress through the perils of Turnberry yesterday and managed to finish with a spectacular flourish that restored him to the top of a leader-board ahead of a jostle of whipper-snappers who had threatened to usurp his place.

Whatever happens today he has already delivered an historic blow for old timers everwhere and no longer can his astounding assault on a sixth Open Championship be dismissed as a senior moment.

This is no flash in the bed-pan as anyone who witnessd his third inspirational round will testify. No-one looked more impressive than him.

Win or lose, he has sounded a bugle call that can be picked up on a ear-trumpet and he has enthused a generation whose capabilities won't be too readily dismissed in future.

It may well be a co-incidence but Seve Ballesteros, who at 53 is six years younger than Watson, announced yesterday that he would like to play in The Open at St Andrews next year.

Not long ago we were fearing for Seve's life after he had a tumour removed from his brain. He certainly wouldn't have been discouraged from thinking of a miracle comeback at this amazing display at the scene of Watson's greatest triumph thirty-two years ago.

And speaking of operations, Watson had a replacement hip only eight months ago - even medical science gets a boost from him.

While his greatest admirers were half-expecting age to begin the pursuit of this ridiculous prospect he produced a round of supreme steadiness that not even the disappearance of his name from the top of the leaderboard could disturb.

He proceeded to clamber back up with birdies the 16th and 17th gained by lengthy putts that have become a trademark of his incredible performance. His putting yardages over the three days must be some sort of a record.

And he shows no signs of wilting, either physically or mentally, as we prepare for a final day that surpass all others.

Not the least of the wonders Watson has been performing at Turnberry is that he has managed to do some high class mentoring on the side. He spent the first two rounds in the company of the youngest player in The Open, 16 year old Italian prodigy Matteo Manassero, and the boy blossomed under his influence.

The contrast between the old maestro and yesterday's playing companion, Stee Marino, was not so marked but it was still substantial.

Apart from the 30 years age gap their familiarity with these isles couldn't be more different. While Watson is regarded as family over here, Marino had never set foot in the place before last Tuesday let alone played on a links course.

Even now his experience of The Open amounts to just three rounds - Watson was playing his 110th yesterday.

But the whirlwind success of Marino's arrival on the scene after he was called up for Open duty just a week ago suffered a down-draught soon after he and Watson parred the first hole with almost identical fours.

Thereupon Marino began the shedding of five shots in four holes. The short fourth hole particulaly showed the fluster gap between the two. While Marino was fretting over another bogey Watson spent a few minutes gazing across the beach towards Ailsa Craig, calmly taking in the scenery, a study in composure.

Marino did well to pull out of the nosedive with an eagle on the seventh and a birdie on the 11th and he managed to birdie that last two but he still dropped six shots the day.

Watson, meanwhile, was progressing in an orderly fashion. His accurate driver rarely took him off the fairway but the middle of the round saw a few putts slide by and there was a slight bleakness to be felt as the younger men ahead of him began to creep up the leader board.

No one, young or old, will be doubting his ability to give them all a chase for the title today. His calmness and accuracy could well be the telling factor. As Rudyard Kipling would surely have said - If you can keep your ball while all around are losing theirs you could well win this bloody thing

Tip of the Week

No 10: The Downhill bunker shot

It's amazing how often approach shots run just under the back lip of the bunker. The difficulty here is the natural lie and stance will de-loft the club and loft is needed to clear the front lip. With your most lofted club, position the ball towards the back foot and your weight on your left side (for right-handed players). Make a steep backswing and strike down hard two to three inches behind the ball. The biggest mistake I see is players trying to lift the ball out of the sand, so make sure to keep the club in the sand for as long as possible after the ball has gone. The ball will come out fairly low and running, but anywhere out and on the putting surface from this lie is a good shot.

Simon Iliffe, Head Professional, Purley Downs GC, Surrey. www.theshortgame.co.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments